What We Learned In Week 8 Of The NFL

Its been awhile since I’ve written about the NFL, and there’s a couple reasons.

  1. School, the NBA season tip-off, and the incredibly exciting MLB playoffs have taken all my time.
  2. This season kinda sucks!

I’ve done a 180 on the ratings problem.  The league just isn’t that good!  There’s one team we can totally certain about, and a ton of terrible teams.

Its just not very fun anymore.  The resolution is way too long to explain, but no matter what, the NFL needs to do something.

Anyways, here’s what happened this weekend.

Nobody can kick anymore

Remember when we thought college kickers were bad?  Oh, wait, they still are.  But turns out that trend is spilling into the NFL.  Maybe we can just blame Roberto Aguayo.  Its not just him who’s been bad, but we sure can start with him.

Tampa Bay was criticized heavily for taking a kicker in the second round, but it was defensible.  Aguayo was practically the best kicker college football had ever seen.

But in the pros, it just hasn’t happened for him.  He missed an extra point Sunday; his first of the year.  But Aguayo’s issues are with field goals.  He’s 6-11 on the year.  He’s missed one from 50+, three from 40-49, and one from 30-39.  His misses have Tampa Bay at the bottom of the league in field goal percentage (This is football we’re talking about, not basketball).

New Orleans is 2nd last in the league.  Saints kicker Wil Lutz, who Sean Payton liked before the season (“I like this guy a lot.”), and another rookie, is 7-11 on kicks this season.  His issues are long range, with three misses coming from 50+.

I searched for exact numbers on how many field goals have been missed this season that have cost teams games, and I just couldn’t find them.  But, doesn’t it seem like every week there’s a missed field goal that makes us go “You have to make that kick!”  or “That cost them the game.”.  Its ridiculous.

The Raiders-Buccaneers game was a perfect example.  Sebastian Janikowski, one of the best kickers in the league, missed a game-winning 50 yard field goal as time expired.  Then, in overtime, he missed a 52 yarder.  It was a meltdown, and Janikowski isn’t the only kicker to experience it this year, or week.

Dustin Hopkins missed a game-winning field goal against the Bengals in overtime Sunday morning.  Hopkins has had a good year, but his miss caused the game to end in a tie, which gets me into the next thing we learned this weekend.

Ties are stupid

Poor London.  They finally get a good game and it ends in a tie.

I was pretty surprised that the Bengals and Redskins played a good game.  It seemed destined to have a brutal ending for one, by turnover or something.  I kept saying on Twitter throughout the game “Someone is gonna have to win this game at the end.”.  Someone did for regulation, when the Redskins tied the game at 27 with around a minute left.  But no one did in overtime.

Somehow we ended up with two ties in two weeks.  When do two ties ever happen in a season, let alone back-to-back weeks?

They’re just dumb games.  There are so many dumb things that have to happen in a game for a tie to occur.  And when the tie occurs, there’s no reaction.  From the players.  From the coaches.  From me.  There’s no point in writing about it, really.

So getting rid of ties would benefit everyone.  I think the way to do it is have no clock, but apply the same possession rules.  Wait until someone scores a touchdown.  The NFL needs to do this because the NFL needs to do anything to start getting the attention back they once had back.

The Colts defense is still really bad

We’ve been saying it for weeks, but this week, it hit a new low.

Nick Foles played the majority of the game since Alex Smith dealt with a concussion.  Smith went 9/19 for 127 yards and a touchdown, but Foles was more impressive.  He threw for 223 yards on 16/22 passing and two touchdowns.

Nick. Foles.

Not great, Colts D!  They were already 2nd last in DVOA, and I expect their percentages to fall farther (Detroit’s will too).  But, the Colts defense is probably worse than the Lions’ in one way:  They’ve been at fault for many game-winning drives.

This defense is so bad that Andrew Luck can’t save them.  But really, Andrew Luck can’t save himself because his offensive line is so bad.  I feel terrible for Luck.  We need to send in a rescue team to Indianapolis and rescue the Master himself, like Boogie in Sacramento.  Free Andrew Luck!

The Raiders keep pulling wins out of their butt

Its getting pretty ridiculous at this point.  Oakland is a good team, possibly the best in their division.  But the inability to win close games at the end is worth worrying over, especially come playoff time, where there will always been a tough opponent.  I think it falls on the defense.  They’re letting offenses like Tampa Bay, San Diego, and Baltimore hang around.  Quarterbacks are putting up huge numbers on them.

This secondary was supposed to undergo big improvement this offseason.  It did, and the talent isn’t bad by any means.  It just hasn’t fulfilled expectations yet, and thats why the Raiders are scrambling at the end of games.

However, Derek Carr and this offense has gotten through it.  He’s so clutch, and can make anything happen.  His surrounding weapons have been a huge reason why he’s had a breakout year.

Sunday’s game was insane though.  Sebastian Janikowski is one of the best kickers in the league, and missed two field goals in Tampa Bay:  One as time-expired, and one in overtime.  It was a meltdown, but can also be a victim of the curse on kickers this year.  Still, Derek Carr and the Raiders can win any game, no matter what the situation is at the end.

Quick hits on Week 8:

  • I didn’t watch one minute of Jaguars-Titans Thursday night, but from what I heard and learned looking at the box score, it seemed atrocious. Blake Bortles is getting worse every week, and Jacksonville fired their offensive coordinator for it.  Really?  Can you not just accept that fact that Bortles clearly isn’t the guy?  I get they want to start using the run game more (Smart with Bortles playing the way he is), but the move to fire Greg Olson felt very scape-goatish.
  • The Texans can send thanks to Jim Caldwell for their 20-13 win over Detroit.  Only down a touchdown with 2:53 left in the game with three (!) timeouts left, Caldwell decided to onside kick.  Houston recovered and secured the win.

  • I’m aware of the spelling error.  Twitter really needs an edit button.
  • Otherwise, Houston’s secondary did a nice job on the Lions receivers.  But still, Detroit had a chance to win this, and their coach blew it.
  • I thought the Bills played the Patriots pretty well.  Tyrod Taylor had an incredible 26 yard touchdown run; he looked like a running back taking it in.  Tom Brady and the Patriots are just too good.  Brady threw four touchdowns, including one to Gronk.  The backstory on that touchdown is something I probably shouldn’t be printing.
  • Only the Browns could figure out how to blow a two possession lead to the Jets.
  • Hey, at least Cleveland has the Indians and Cavaliers.
  • Quick MLB note:  I think Cleveland loses tonight, but takes Game 7 tomorrow.
  • The Seahawks-Saints game was excellent.  Seattle did some good things against the Saints lackluster defense, but failed to get the running game going.  That has been their biggest struggle this season.  New Orleans’ offense played extremely well against Seattle’s tough D.  The Saints have an offense where they can do some things to exploit a defense, and they put those to use Sunday.  However, I thought the Saints got pretty lucky since Seattle decided to run a fade route on the final play of the game, where they had a chance to win.  What a bonehead call.
  • Pretty embarrassing loss for the Cardinals.  No one could block, leading to David Johnson not getting going (But still making ridiculous moves on defenders) and Carson Palmer getting sacked eight times.  The defensive issues continued:  Tackling and covering the outside and flats.  I figured our defensive line could at least start getting pressure on Cam Newton, but that never happened.
  • Denver’s defense was absolutely incredible against San Diego Sunday afternoon.  What a show.
  • I really like Devonate Booker
  • Unlike Denver, Green Bay’s defense was pretty bad.  Granted, they were extremely banged up, but the secondary wasn’t covering anyone.  Look at Mohammed Sanu’s game-winning touchdown pass!  He was wide open!
  • The good news for the Packers is that the offense returned to normal, somewhat.  The running game is still a mess, and I have no idea what they plan to do now that they cut Knile Davis (What a strange move overall.).  But the offense is improving.  Now, they just need to get healthy.
  • What a great Eagles-Cowboys game Sunday night.  Dak Prescott struggled, but Ezekiel Elliot ran well once again.  That guy is special.
  • I thought the Eagles defense got tired at the end of the game.  They were playing extremely well throughout regulation.  They got good jumps on the Cowboys offensive line, and forced four fumbles (One lost).  That game-winning drive by Dallas was great, but you can’t tell me Philadelphia wasn’t worn out by Zeke.
  • That was, even though they won, a big game for Tony Romo supporters.  Dak Prescott struggled for 80% of that game.  Zeke carried Dallas.
  • Philadelphia recovered from their offensive struggles.  They lost the game in OT.  Don’t harp on them too much.
  • I think we all need to chill about the Vikings.  These offensive struggles aren’t surprising.  I knew they were coming.  But everyone thinks it’ll doom them.  So what if the offense struggles?  They have one of the best defenses in the league (I know its been a rough two weeks, but they were due.)!  Maybe they are turning into this year’s Denver.  So what?  They’re still ahead of Green Bay, and they’re definitely better than the Bears.  So stop with the overrated talk.
  • And Vikings fans:  Be happy I’m defending you.